Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

What's happened in the rural school district Obama fought to save


DILLON, S.C. — In 2007, when Sen. Barack Obama was running for president, he visited the public schools here in flat, sandy Dillon County, part of South Carolina’s so-called “Corridor of Shame,” a poor region that stretches from north to south along Interstate 95. Obama toured the old J.V. Martin Middle School, part of which dated to 1896 and was still in use.

The building still had a furnace fueled by coal. Students in Dillon had little access to Advanced Placement courses, art and music; and teacher salaries were much lower than in other parts of the state. J.V. Martin had the lowest ratings possible for achievement and improvement on its state report card that year. Nearly half of its students scored “below basic” on the state’s English language arts exam.

“I think this school exemplifies some of the enormous problems that we’re having just in terms of getting enough resources to educate our kids,’’ the future president said, shooting a little basketball in the heavy heat of August in a gym with no air conditioning.


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